In this blog series, Anne explores the world of whole grains, one at a time. A whole grain is one in which all the essential parts (bran, germ and endosperm) and naturally-occurring nutrients are in tact and in their original proportions. These grains are unrefined and have been only minimal processed, i.e. cracked, rolled, crushed.
We love whole grains for their nutrition and so much more! They're affordable; they make excellent pantry staples; and they're delicious! Read on for how we work with whole grains in the Red Stick Spice Company test kitchen.
Farro, aka Emmer, is a ancient strain of wheat. Over the centuries, farro fell out of favor. Farro lost out to durum wheat because of durum's higher yields and easier hulling. Today, however, farro is increasing in popularity and becoming a gourmet treasure.
Farro cooks up like a heartier, "meatier" (if you will) oatmeal. The texture is meant to be al dente and the flavor is mild and grainy, so it takes to lots of flavor profiles. Prepare it with milk, cinnamon and honey, and top it with fruit for a breakfast treat. Cook it in chicken stock with onion and garlic for a savory side.
When shopping for farro, be sure the label says "whole farro," and avoid the term "pearled." While farro is not gluten free (it's a form of wheat), it is lower in gluten than traditional wheat. Four ounces of uncooked farro boasts seven grams of protein--more than brown rice. A serving of farro will deliver eight grams of fiber and a healthy dose of magnesium which has been shown to alleviate cramping and tension.
And there's more good news: Farro is DELICIOUS! Try our pine nut and golden raisin-studded Moroccan Farro spiced just right with our Moroccan Blend. Excellent on its own on as a side dish. Check out how we use this recipe in Elen's Street Bowl, a nutrition powerhouse packed with flavor.
Meet our new flavor crushes: Dark Chocolate Balsamic, Strawberry Balsamic & Vanilla Balsamic. Together or separate, no matter which you choose, you can't go wrong. Here's how we use them:
Grown-up Neapolitan--speaking of ice cream, why not enjoy the flavor of neapolitan the balsamic way? Add rich sweetness and decadence to a bowl of plain ole vanilla with a drizzle of our Dark Chocolate, Strawberry and Vanilla Balsamic Vinegars. Excellent for sorbet and gelato, too!
Cocktails--if mixology is your thing, you're going to love experimenting with our balsamics. We were especially happy with the results of our Chocolate Martini. We may or may not have tested this recipe more than once.
Steaks--if you're a fan of Mole (chocolate chili), then you're going to love this idea: dust a steak with a smoky chile or chili powder. Our picks: Chipotle Powder Morita or Dark la Mesa Chili Powder. Rub the steak with salt and the smoky chile. Toss them on the grill then drizzle with our Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar just at the end of cooking. Amazing!
Fruit--this trio of balsamics is the perfect compliment to fresh, poached or grilled fruit. Drizzle Vanilla Balsamic Vinegar over watermelon, honeydew or poached pears. Dark Chocolate Balsamic is excellent on raspberries and strawberries. And we're in love with what Strawberry Balsamic does for grilled peaches and nectarines. Use any (or all) of the three in our show-stopping dessert: Strawberries with Whipped Mascarpone.
Salad--Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar is a must for strawberries. Take advantage of the magic of this balsamic with these two delicious dishes: Cajun Citrus Drum with Black Eyed Pea Salad and Strawberry Spring Mix Salad.
If romance has been replaced by the pitter patter of little feet and artisan chocolates replaced by sprinkles, it's no reason to ditch the Valentine celebration altogether. Here are some fun, family-friendly recipes to make Valentine evening a night to remember.
Cast Iron Pizza--this one is a staple in Anne's home. This comes together very quickly and is perfect for littles hands that want to help in the kitchen.
Grilled Pound Cake with Salted Butterscotch Sauce--pick up a pound cake at the grocery and give this recipe a try. The Butterscotch Sauce is ready in under 10 minutes. It's excellent over ice cream, waffles, pancakes...you get the idea.
Espresso Brownie Bites--these little guys boast a delicious combo of chocolate and coffee. Enjoy them tonight and tuck a few into lunches this week.
Tell us how you celebrate Valentines in your family. Let us know in the comments below. Happy Valentines Day!
We headed out in search of unique gifts -- the kind you can only really find at local small businesses. Next on our list: Atomic Pop Shop. Atomic Pop Shop is a record store in Mid City, and Baton Rouge's largest independent all vinyl record store. They offer a "diverse collection of thousands upon thousands of records from all era’s for your ears, and carry all genres and know hip hop, to rock, to bop to Bach," explains their website.